How did you get into sport?
When I started at a new school, playing football was something I did to make new friends. There was another boy there who must have thought I was good and told his Mum. His Mum then spoke to my Mum to tell us about the local club he played for. My parents took me along to a training session and I never looked back!
What was the biggest challenge you overcame?
I experienced a life-defining moment in 2006 when playing for Wingate & Finchley. My best friend at the time (and also an ex professional footballer Simon Patterson) died in a car crash in which I was a passenger and also suffered terrible injuries. Following a couple of months in a coma, and being told I may never walk again, I thought my footballing days were over. But four years later I was contacted by The FA and given details of CP football for Cerebral Palsy or brain injury sufferers.
What are your three biggest achievements in sport?
- Signing for QPR
- Competing at London 2012 and scoring against Argentina
- Being inducted into National Football Museum Hall of Fame (Football for All Award).
Who most inspired you and why?
My parents have always been my biggest inspiration as they always came to watch me however things were going. I was also given the freedom to explore but they made me understand what success means, not just in sport but in life.
When and why did you get involved with the Athlete Mentor programme?
I became a YST Athlete Mentor in 2014 after having gained experience as a mentor with The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and Sporting Champions. I got involved as I really wanted to share my own sporting experiences to help others and change lives for the better. The YST provides the opportunities to do that on a big scale.
What has been your favourite moment as a YST Athlete Mentor?
After delivering ‘Living for Sport’ at a Special School, one pupil was very receptive. I then noticed the pupil at many other initiatives (Project Ability, Dare to Believe) and he was growing in the role as a young leader. I saw him recently and he had become a Teaching Assistant at the School. He is now employed at the school full time and provides the young people with fantastic enthusiasm and belief. He thanked me for our first meeting and credited me with his fantastic achievements. I’m happy I played a part in his realising how fantastic education is, and it’s such moments that make me feel the power of what we do.